Material Glance: A Portfolio of Lithographs by Antoni Tàpies and Poems by Shūzō Takiguchi

Lithographs by Antoni Tàpies

(May 29–September 27, 2012)

Published in 1975 by Ediciones Poligrafa, S.A., Barcelona, Material Glance (Llambrec Material) brings together two important creative figures of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries—Antoni Tàpies (1923–2012), one of the most universally recognized Spanish artists to emerge in the post-World War II era, and Shūzō Takiguchi (1903–1979), the Japanese writer, critic, and proponent of avant-garde art. Writer and artist shared an interest in surrealism. Takiguchi was responsible for introducing surrealism to Japan in the late 1920s through his writings, and Tàpies was one of the founders in 1948 of Dau al set, the avant-garde surrealist and Dada-influenced artistic literary group and magazine of the same name.

Although Tàpies is best remembered for his paintings, he was also an accomplished printmaker, and his collaborations with writers such as Takiguchi are considered to have produced some of his most innovative work in the print medium.  For Material Glance, Takiguchi sent poems written in Japanese characters to Tàpies, who was responsible for creating the book. The artist’s choice of paper, a warm-toned, tan-colored, Catalan estrassa paper used by butchers to wrap meat, with its irregular fiber echoing hand-made Japanese paper, activates Tàpies’s aggressive, calligraphic line when the prints are viewed with Takiguchi’s poems. The physicality of the poetry, which describes interior worlds merging with exterior realities, is particularly sympathetic with Tàpies’s practice and sensibility.

This exhibition will include other works by Tàpies from the gallery’s collection, and, as with this portfolio, many will be on view for the first time.

Material Glance: A Portfolio of Lithographs by Antoni Tàpies and Poems by Shūzō Takiguchi is organized by the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery and curated by Joseph S. Mella, director. This exhibition is co-sponsored in part by the Consulate-General of Japan in Nashville and the Center for US-Japan Studies and Cooperation at Vanderbilt University.